Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story...” Psalm 107:2a

When my dad was a young pastor in the 1950s, he and Mom accepted another couple’s invitation for a fishing trip.  The four of them spent a day at the lake on a borrowed houseboat.  As self-proclaimed angling experts, the two men took off in a skiff to catch the group’s supper and left two poles behind for the women.

Anticipating a lazy morning, Mom and her friend baited their hooks and dropped them into the water while they chatted on deck.  Their relaxation was interrupted, though, when something hit a line fast and strong.  They managed to pull up a 15-inch bass, but the pole was too long for them to reach the hook.  So, holding the dangling fish above the deck, Mom backed the pole down the galley steps until her friend could grab the catch, contain it in a basket and unhook it.  Just as they finished, a bigger bass hit the second rod and they repeated the process again. 

Their husbands, hearing screeches of laughter across the water, decided they had better investigate the uproar.  In their holding tank was the one 6-inch bluegill they had snagged.  By the time the men came in sight, Mom and Doris had used those galley stairs to land 16 bass from the school that was circling the houseboat – the smallest of the bunch was the 15-incher. 

To this day, my mother still doubles over laughing each time she tells that story.  Everyone in the family knows it by heart, along with other tales like the time I fell into the lake, the day Mom fell into the lake, and many, many others. 

Our stories are important.  They bind us together as families, colleagues and friends.  Who doesn’t narrate the humorous or dramatic events that enliven our daily routines?  Stories become part of a shared heritage that links generations.  On my Aunt Madaline’s 103rd birthday, I smiled trying to picture her as the young girl who jumped off the pumphouse and landed on a chicken.  During every visit, my grandkids beg for accounts of their parents’ childhood exploits.  These tales create a sense of identity and belonging in our respective groups. 

One of the best gifts we can give our children is to tell them our stories.  Write them down.  Pass them along.  Stories establish who we are, where we have been and what we have learned.  They give families reasons to laugh together.  They make life feel fuller, richer, and more interesting.  Stories are a treasure meant to be shared rather than hoarded, and we all are the better for having them.

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